Are there ethical truths which hold for all people at all times and places?
The concept of an absolute value, such as the archetype of Beauty or Truth, is one that has been pondered by philosophers for ages. Aristotle and Plato pondered this question, trying to define what common beliefs and values existed among all human beings. Carl Jung believed that there were certain truths which held for everyone regardless of time or place. Like Joseph Campbell, the famous mythologist, also later came to assert, since certain myths and symbols are present in all human societies, there must be some primal values or ethics built into the human being as a species. For example, all societies have ethics of power which include a value for justice and truth as viewed by the people in a particular community. The United States of America has (culturally speaking) long held freedom as an absolute human truth. Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious was the idea that all people have a preset, innate group of paradigms which tell them subconsciously how to structure a society. The example would be a group of human beings will appoint a leader. They will structure some rules of their society and then as they develop they will start consciously making decisions about their societies, which is the point where variety occurs. While his thesis has been disputed (along with Freud’s ideas which Jung built his own hypothesis own), the idea of universal ethics and desires which unite all mankind are persistent even to this day. Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoke passionately on the subject of universal ethics that must be upheld even if human societies failed to meet them regularly. These universal human ethics specifically include the ability to care for one’s family in safety and peace, the opportunity for social progress, and justice. All human societies should strive to obtain these things for their citizens, he argued, because these ideas are...
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